Tech giants ally on home networking

Microsoft, Sony and other tech heavyweights are set to unveil a joint effort to make sure that their products--from computers to DVD players to cell phones--can communicate with each other over a home wireless network.

The alliance of 18 major companies from the consumer-electronics, personal computer and mobile devices industries--called the Digital Home Working Group--will announce Tuesday in San Francisco which networking standards it plans to support, according to sources familiar with the group's plans.

Chipmaker Intel, PC maker Hewlett-Packard and cell phone giant Nokia are also involved in the group, which has been working to choose the networking technologies they plan to promote in future products.

"There is a dearth of connectivity capabilities between consumer-electronics and PC products," said Stephen Baker, an analyst with NPD Techworld. "Getting these companies together to talk to one another and hash out which standards they want to support will certainly help get things moving toward networked products."

Many of the companies involved in the group have a common vision of connecting products so that people can use the network to access and share resources at home in much the same way they share a printer or broadband connection at work. For example, people would be able to play digital audio on their living-room stereo even though the music files themselves are stored on a computer in the den.

News source: Cnet|News.com

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